68 million UnionPay cards have been issued in over 40 countries and regions by the end of November. 15 million are newly issued this year. Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and the Belt and Road markets are all major issuing markets. From January to November this year, the number of transaction of overseas-issued UnionPay cards in mainland China grew by about 50%.
China’s outbound tourism has been developing rapidly for many years, and now, inbound tourism is picking up steam. According to the data released by China’s National Tourism Administration, in the first six months of 2016, the number of inbound tourists reached 67.87 million, growing by 3.8% year-on-year; that is 8.84 million more than the outbound tourists. It is estimated that the number of inbound tourists in the second half of this year will mark a year-on-year growth of 4% or more.
“With more people visiting China, UnionPay is facing new opportunities and challenges,” CEO of UnionPay International, Cai Jianbo, said. “We not only provide payment convenience to Chinese people to go abroad, but also endeavor to optimize inbound tourists’ payment experiences to support the personnel exchanges between China and the rest of the world.”
UnionPay International has taken several measures. Firstly, to promote the large-scale issuance of UnionPay cards in markets outside mainland China. Secondly, to build special business circles in mainland cities and to improve trade settlement services. Thirdly, to offer exclusive offers and value-added services for overseas-issued UnionPay cards.
Thanks to UnionPay’s extensive acceptance network in mainland China, more and more customers like to bring UnionPay cards when visiting China. From January to November, the transaction volume of Korea-issued UnionPay cards in mainland China grew by about 50%. The transaction volume of UnionPay cards issued in Pakistan and Nepal grew by about 2 times, and that of UnionPay cards issued in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia and Mauritius also grew by about 50%.
More exclusive privileges are offered for UnionPay cards issued outside mainland China. Now, VIP service is offered to UnionPay cardholders at 10 Chinese Visa Application Service Centers in South Korea, Singapore and Australia. Banks in Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Singapore have offered exclusive cashback for local UnionPay cardholders.